As you drive through any community across the nation you will probably notice that each town has its own unique character and personality. What gives a community its personality? We know from our recent small business study, and just by observing the ambiance of a neighborhood, that small businesses are often responsible for the character of a community. Places like Hershey, Pennsylvania, home of the nationally beloved Hershey chocolate company, and Ybor City, Florida, a historic city in Tampa that was built around its cigar factories, both are defined by the businesses that helped these communities grow.
Like the community that your business operates within, your small business is doing more to mold the culture of your neighborhood than you may realize. How is that you may ask? Small businesses like yours provide places to work; by giving back to local causes, you keep money within the community; you support local causes and nonprofits by a wide margin; and small business leaders are often involved in community leadership and are the driving social change within the community. Small businesses serve as pillars that help support and stabilize strong and expanding communities.
Being that small businesses are so influential in their communities, the charitable efforts you and your business champion can be optimized if your causes are in alignment with what your community cares about. What’s more, according to recent consumer studies, a good majority of your customers, especially the “iGeneration” (the combined Millennial and Generation-Z cohort) are looking to support businesses that support a cause that they also believe in.
When your business’ cause and your community causes are in agreement, it could be the perfect marriage of business and community that leads to tremendous growth. So, how do you select a cause that matters to your customers and your community at large? This is something we thought about when we built the transparency features of our digital sharing platform. We wanted to create a platform that allows your customers and employees insight into the causes that you and your business are supporting. By providing this level of transparency into the good your business does, it shows your customers what you care about and much you care about your community.
As our 2020 Spring Into Kindness Small Business Study has proven, small businesses are big givers to their communities. 99% of the small businesses we surveyed gave back to their communities during the previous year. Additionally, we found that small businesses are often the most frequent charitable sources local causes and nonprofits reach out to for support. There is a strong connection between local causes, charities, and small businesses is well-established.
Understanding what your community and your customers care about could potentially skyrocket the success and exposure of your business’ charitable giving. When your cause and your customers’ causes match up, this could inspire them to get involved along with your business. And if you are planning on supporting this cause through donations tied into purchases, or want to involve your customers in your campaign, your choice of cause could help your business objectives as well. Here are a few quick tips on how to discover causes that your customers and community care about:
When a cause is personal to you, your reasons for supporting it come from a genuine and authentic place. So when you look at your community, can you identify any needs? If you’re an animal lover, you can find ways to support a local shelter or rescue. If you believe in the power of education, you could align your efforts into a school supply drive or donate a sum to the local school district or library. These are just a few examples, but if you feel strongly about a cause, showing your customers how deeply you care about the cause and your commitment to advancing it can inspire a more personal, deeper connection with them.
2. Surveys, Research, & Local News
Your community undoubtedly has a news outlet or community publication that details the everyday goings-on in your neighborhood. Looking at recurring topics and themes can reveal causes that your community is focused on. Once you have a general idea of the cause you will be championing, research local charities or nonprofits that can help you achieve your charitable goals. Running your ideas by your employees, or a select group of loyal customers can help you narrow down the options and gauge the level of excitement you will see from supporting this cause. Also, getting employees and customers involved in these early stages of your campaign can help engage them and gives them partial ownership in its success.
3. Stay Local!
Our 2020 Spring Into Kindness Small Business Study showed that small businesses are continuously giving back to their communities throughout the year. They give in good times and even during the most difficult circumstances. By selecting a cause that benefits your community, you can encourage your employees, customers and their friends and families to participate.Giving back to the community means that you are engaging the community in your efforts.
Also, when you stay local, your customers are able to see the results of your charitable giving campaigns first-hand. When they are able to see the good your business is doing for the neighborhood, this will help them realize that by supporting your business, they are also doing their part to help give back to the community.
4. Look at Your Company’s Mission Statement
Many small businesses serve a niche group of customers. Take a look at the products or services you are providing your customers and try to identify a cause that is related to what your business offers. For example, in a previous blog we highlighted a group of local barbershops and hair salons that provided underprivileged kids and adults with free haircuts to help boost their self-esteem. Choosing a cause that is related to your business allows you to lend your expertise and gives your employees the opportunity to give back in more meaningful ways.
Your customers want to know how their purchasing dollars are being used to help give back to the world at large. When you are able to listen to what your customers and community are saying about what they need, giving back to these causes shows them that you care. Finding a cause to align your business with just takes a little time and thought, but when you are able to strike the right balance, you have the potential to see greater results from your charitable giving campaigns.
Is your business actively involved in giving back to your local community? seedership can help provide your customers and employees the transparency they need to feel excited about supporting your business. With our track and measure features, you are able to paint a picture for your customers, employees, and other stakeholders of what you give back to your community.
Every dollar, minute, and item contributed to giving back will be accounted for and presented in easily exported infographics that you can use in your store, on your website, on social media, or any other place your customers are. We also provide a reporting feature that allows you to track and measure your charitable giving acts against your marketing and business goals. With our visual dashboard, you can watch as your Total Kindness Impact score increases with each charitable act you enter. It provides you with a high level view of how your combined acts of kindness are creating value for your business and community.
Do good and grow with seedership! Try out our digital sharing platform today!